Father’s Way

Online Exclusives

One Lowcountry dad offers his perspective on parenting

Lee Edwards daughters“When I found out we were expecting our first child, I said to myself — like most men, I assume — that I would be happy either way, but I secretly wanted a boy,” said Lee Edwards. “And yet, as soon as our first popped out and I saw it was a girl, I was absolutely thrilled to have a daughter. Maybe even more so than if it had been a son.

I felt an instant and powerful bond. She was just so beautiful.”

As his wife and the mother to our three girls, I can tell attest that he’s an excellent dad — despite the fact that he described 13 hours of intense labor to deliver our first as simply “popping her out. So when he suggested sharing with readers his tips for raising daughters, I was happy to take him up on the offer.

Here, in his words, are his tips to fathers of daughters:

TEACH THEM TO BE FEARLESS

“Often, gender stereotypes aren’t only offensive, but they can place unintended limitations on roles and expectations. Have your daughter try all sorts of sports, including hunting, fishing, and boating. Dads can be just as rough and tumble with daughters as they can with sons. I wrestle with my girls in the pool and encourage all three daughters to be adventurous — for example, I’ve taught them how to climb the rigging to jump off the bowsprit on my boat and into the water. If I had a son, I truly don’t think I would be raising him any differently than my daughters.”

SHARE YOUR PASSION

“I’m very active, and enjoy water sports like paddle boarding, sailing and surfing. I’ve learned your daughter can be into the things you like on many different levels. The trick is to make them feel safe and comfortable and to make it fun. For example, to get my girls interested in boating, I took them on day trips that were interactive, like boating out to the sandbar and looking for shells.”

MAKE TIME FOR THEM

“It’s important for parents, regardless of gender, to spend time with their children. We all know this. But when life gets busy — my work schedule, the kids’ practice and game schedules, after-school activities — it can be difficult to have one-on-one time. That’s why I block out time on my calendar to spend with each one of my girls individually. Sometimes I’ll take one out to dinner, or I’ll come home early from work to shoot hoops with them.”

DON’T BE AFRAID TO CUDDLE

“When your kid says, ‘I need a lap to sit in,’ it’s a special, tender moment that you need to embrace. And I do think girls seem to want to cuddle more than boys. I make time every night to either relax on the sofa and rub their backs or read them a bedtime story.”

SET A GOOD EXAMPLE

“Kids learn about relationships from their parents. Eventually, although it terrifies me, my daughters are going to want to date and then, one day, get married. I treat their mother the way I would want them to be treated by their future spouses, and I try to show that. Plus, to be a good dad, you have to be a good a husband.”


Becca Edwards is a wellness professional, freelance writer, and owner of b.e.WELL+b.e.CREATIVE (bewellbecreative.com).